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Prince William School

Philisophy & ethics


This course develops skills of interpretation and analysis. It equips students to be independent thinkers and to be strong in powers of persuasion. It encourages open mindedness while examining critically, various religious and ethical belief systems. It will develop essay writing skills and the ability to evaluate issues and develop critical awareness of personal points of view. This course will increase awareness of the beliefs and issues that affect our society today as well as considering on-going controversial issues.

AS Unit 1:

G571 Philosophy of Religion – 1 ½ hours written examination. Answer two two-part essay questions from a choice of 4.
This unit studies philosophical arguments about the existence of God as well as the nature and problem of evil. It also studies the relationship between religion and science, debating Big Bang theory and Creationism as well as developments in evolutionary theory. 

AS Unit 2:

G572 Religious Ethics – 1 ½ hours written examination. Answer two two-part essay questions from a choice of 4.
This unit studies the relationship between ethical theories and religious methods of ethical decision making. It contrasts religious and secular approaches to morality. It will also consider a variety of medical ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, embryo research and genetic engineering as well as issues of war. 

A2 Unit 1:

G581 Philosophy of Religion – 1 ½ hours written examination. Answer two open style essay questions from a choice of 4. 
This unit studies different views on life after death. It asks whether or not the soul can exist outside of the body. It studies the validity of religious experience and miracles and looks at whether or not religious language has any meaning.

A2 Unit 2:

G582 Religious Ethics - 1 ½ hours written examination. Answer two open style essay questions from a choice of 4. 
This unit studies freewill and determinism and considers to what extent the future is already mapped out. It also studies the nature and role of conscience in decision making and whether this comes from God or society. It will also consider issues of sex and relationships as well as business and the environment.

Entry Requirements: 

A minimum of five GCSE passes graded at A*-C are required. We will be especially interested in your grades for English and, where applicable, full course Religious Studies and History. You will need to have achieved B grade in Religious Studies or English. If you are able to achieve these standards you will be considered for the course. 

AS to A2 progression:

In order to ensure that students are appropriately prepared for A Level study, AS students will be expected to achieve a minimum grade ‘D’ at AS. Where grade ‘D’ is not met, you will be expected to re-sit the unit(s).


In order to prepare appropriately for classroom learning it is expected that all students will have read ‘Sophie’s World’ (Jostein Gaarder) and completed the summer homework tasks. Students will need to purchase two core texts that will cover AS and A2 study. Additional reading is also expected so that students become familiar with the ideas and arguments of a range of philosophers. Moreover, and so as to better consolidate classroom learning independently, students will also be expected to add to classroom notes, building on arguments and developing more in depth knowledge of key theories. Students can expect to engage in lively whole class discussion and should be prepared to have their world view challenged as well as challenging the viewpoints of others.

Extra-Curricular Activities/Independent Learning Opportunities:

Visits to Cambridge during Year 12, where you will hear Lectures from Dr Peter Vardy whose books we refer to in the course. 

Career Pathways:

Due to the nature of this qualification, it can be applied to any university course or career because it develops skills that are valuable and can be applied in many areas – Law, Journalism, Teaching Media, Social Work, Community Work. The ‘Ethics’ part of the course will sit well with Advanced Level Biology and will be of value for those thinking of going into medicine.
Good combinations of other subject to study with Biology are: 
History, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, English, Biology, Business Studies.

Student Testimonials:

“Knowing a deeper meaning to issues that you see every day is amazing. It allows a more open minded approach to the world that sets you up to go to university. It helps you thrive in your other subjects, particularly ones that help you to explore a deeper meaning.”

“A first class subject, encouraging you to not take things on face value but rather question and achieve a greater depth of understanding.”

“It changes your perspective on the world, encouraging you to question, form opinions and open your mind to different issues that are relevant in today’s world.”